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This is the face of perfection:

The Seattle Mariner's Felix Hernandez is now a part of baseball lore, joining 22 others when he threw a perfect game in a 1-0 win against the Tampa Bay Rays, this afternoon.

That means Hernandez retired 27 batters in a row, throwing 113 pitches, 77 of them strikes. No one got on base.

What's incredible is that this is the third perfect game this season. USA Today reports:

It's time to extinguish The Torch, and end NPR's three-week marathon of Olympic coverage. From the London Games' opening ceremony through 302 medal events, these Summer Olympics have fed fans a rich diet of history and spectacle. I only wish I'd been able to eat it all — but part of the Olympics' allure is that its smorgasbord is over-stuffed with intense competition.

The United States now has back-to-back golds in men's basketball, after beating Spain 107-100 in the finals.

The team celebrated midcourt, and we saw something unexpected: Kobe Bryant, the superstar, one of the best basketball players in the world, wept during what he said was his last Olympic appearance.

"Team USA is not a one-hit wonder," the commentators on NBC said. "Like the Beatles and Rolling Stones, they come to London and put out more gold."

It wasn't easy. The AP reports:

The closing ceremony to the London Games used fireworks, theatrics and music to celebrate the athletes and their countries who participated in the 2012 Summer Olympics.

The night included a shout-out to Winston Churchill and a performance from the Pet Shop Boys, to mark the end of two weeks of competition and stunning athletic displays.

The surviving members of the rock band Queen, The Who and the Spice Girls were on the schedule to entertain millions watching around the world.

Update at 5:11 p.m. ET: 'Imagine'

Every nation that sent a delegation to the London Games sent at least one female athlete — a first for the Olympics. This year's Team USA has more female than male athletes — and the women have won nearly twice as many medals: 100 total medals, by my count, to 59 for the men.

So yes, it looks like this is the Year of the Woman at the Olympics, particularly for the United States.

Washington born and raised goalkeeper Hope Solo saved the day, quite literally, according to her teammates in the Olympic women’s soccer final Thursday. Team USA held on for a 2-1 victory over Japan to win the gold medal.

When the final horn sounded, U.S. goalie Solo was mobbed by her fellow players. Solo says she knew the game was on the line when she made a dramatic lunging save in the waning minutes of the game.

Four years ago, Irish boxer Paddy Barnes lost to China's Zou Shiming by a score of 15-0 in Beijing. Today in London, Barnes fought his way back into their match to tie Zou at 15-15 — but he still lost. Barnes accepted the decision, but the result might confuse anyone who isn't familiar with boxing's scoring system.

Good morning. The final weekend of the Summer Olympics is about to begin. In the medal count, the U.S. has jumped out to a 90-80 lead over China, with 39 golds to China's 37. And Russia has overtaken Great Britain, with 57 to the host nation's 54 medals.

Here's today's news that caught our interest:

In Olympic women's soccer, the U.S. team has beaten Japan, 2-1, in the gold medal match at London's Wembley Stadium, a game that set a new attendance record with more than 80,000 spectators. Carli Lloyd scored both of the American goals, while U.S. stars Alex Morgan and Abby Wambach weren't able to finish their chances. But they were very active, and both players kept the Japanese defenders occupied around the goal.

Why do the best weightlifters have short arms? What's the biggest physical challenge that marathon runners face? What kind of advantages do athletes from West Africa — and from Asia — enjoy? Those questions are answered in a great post over at our sister blog, Shots.

Our colleague Adam Cole analyzed information from a range of sources to come up with conclusions about the bodies of Olympic sprinters and rowers, as well as weightlifters and marathon runners.

It's not easy to find video of the London 2012 Olympics on the Internet — even on YouTube. And that's inspiring people to "interpret" the Summer Games for themselves. For instance, you can see puppet shows, 8-bit video, and Taiwanese animation, all related to the Olympics... or, at least sort of related.

Here are some of my favorites — feel free to put yours into the comment section below:

Photos of day 12 from the Olympics

Aug 8, 2012

Photo highlights from today's Olympic action feature women's beach volleyball, men's and women's track and field, and men's water polo.

It should come as no surprise that Olympics organizers take brand endorsements and official suppliers very seriously. That extends beyond logos on shorts and shoes — up to, and including, condoms. That's right, the Olympics has an "official" condom — and organizers want to get to the bottom of how a bucket of rogue condoms reached the Olympic Village.

As has happened before at the London Games, it started with a tweet.

Good morning. Only five days remain in the Summer Games, and China leads the United States in the medal count, with a total of 73 (34 gold) to America's 71 (30 gold). Here's other news that caught our eye this morning:

Leo Manzano, 27, came from behind with a last-minute kick to claim silver in the men's 1,500-meter final, today. That's no small feat for the Mexican-born American runner: He is the first American to medal in the metric mile since Jim Ryun won a silver in 1968.

Photo highlights from today's Olympic action feature women's synchronized swimming, women's gymnastics, several track and field events, and men's weightlifting.

Want to see yesterday's photos? Click here.

The United States will have at least two shiny new medals no matter what happens tomorrow at the women's beach volleyball final.

After defeating China (2-0) and Brazil (2-1), today, the two American teams advanced to the finals, setting up an all-American match. It means the U.S. will receive a gold and silver.

ABC News reports:

U.S. gymnast Aly Raisman has won the gold medal in the women's floor exercise at the London 2012 Games. Her powerful routine garnered a score of 15.600 — enough to beat the 15.200 of Romania's Catalina Ponor, who turned in a technically strong performance.

Russia's Aliya Mustafina took bronze, with 14.900. American Jordyn Wieber finished seventh, with a 14.500 score.

Good morning. A lot has been happening in London, where the Summer Games are in their eleventh day. Here's a rundown of the news that caught our eye:

Photo highlights from today's Olympic action feature women's gymnastics, several track and field events, women's boxing and men's Greco-Roman wrestling.

When we posted about the apps and streaming options NBC and others offer for the London 2012 Games, many readers responded that as non-TV subscribers, they were cut out of the plan. Many added that they aren't scofflaws — they're people who watch broadcast television, and occasionally pay for cable shows or movies via Netflix or iTunes.

After a physical and hard fought match, the United States' Alex Morgan scored a goal to beat Canada 4-3 in the 122 minute of the quarterfinal women's soccer match.

The goal sends the United States to the gold medal match against Japan on Thursday.

For the Canadians, this is absolute heartbreak. The United States has quite simply dominated historically. But this match, the Canadians held their own and had a chance to reverse a 26-match losing streak against the U.S.

Gymnast Aliya Mustafina of Russia has won the 2012 Olympic gold medal in the uneven bars, standing atop the podium in a highly competitive event that also featured American star Gabby Douglas, defending medalist He Kexin of China, and British favorite Beth Tweddle.

As we enter the final week of the 2012 Summer Olympics, and athletes from the United States have won a total of 60 medals. That's just behind China, at 61. The two countries have stayed in lock-step with one another all through the London Games. Here's a quick rundown of other news out there:

Usain Bolt is still the "world's fastest man."

The Jamaican sprinter has won the men's 100-meter race in an Olympic record time of 9.63 seconds. Just after 4:50 p.m. ET, he successfully defended the gold medal he won four years ago in Beijing.

Jamaica's Yohan Blake came in second today, giving him the silver medal. American Justin Gatlin was third, meaning he gets the bronze.

One month after his hopes were dashed on the same famous court at Wimbledon, Scotland's Andy Murray just won the men's tennis title at the London Olympics in front of a joyous home crowd.

He did it by defeating the same man who beat him at Wimbledon in July.

On this final day of badminton at the London Olympics, leaders of the Badminton World Federation (BWF) were vague about how they will respond to a match-throwing scandal at the games.

An only-at-the-Olympics tale:

As Michael Phelps left a news conference at the Olympic Aquatic Center on Saturday, a photographer rushed up and asked, "Can I get one more photo?"

On the same day cyclist Bradley Wiggins became Great Britain's most-decorated Olympian, Daniel Harris, a 28-year-old cycling enthusiast, was killed when he was struck by a bus at an intersection outside Olympic Park.

As The Guardian just reported:

"Here is perhaps the least surprising outcome of the Games: the awesome Williams sisters have secured the women's doubles for the United States, disposing of the Czech pair Hlavackova and Hradecka 6-4, 6-4. And Serena crowns a dominant display with a delightful twirl of celebration after plundering the gold medal point."

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